The impact of recession and the welfare reform agenda have been foremost in our thinking in recent months. The speed of legislative changes, coupled with the slow progress in terms of the strategic development of solutions to ameliorate their effects, have left the homelessness sector with greater demands and fewer resources. We have, on behalf of our members, striven to clearly articulate these issues at the highest levels, particularly through the work of the Directorate and senior management.
Through regular communications with decision makers and planners, we continue to represent the sector in every relevant arena. As well as sitting on a number of committees, staff represent our members on a number of policy and practice groups, represent them to government and decision makers. In doing so, we ensure that our members' views and needs are clearly and comprehensively articulated.
The unit also provided input to our research programme, whether directly conducting research or working in partnership with others. Recent research partners have included The Rainbow Project, NI Housing Executive, Heriot Watt University (Edinburgh), Sheffield Hallam University, and the Food Standards Agency NI, amongst others. Recent topics have included homelessness amongst our LGB&T communities, destitution across the UK, multiple exclusion homelessness, as well as a number of project evaluations, including the recent SROI of Fareshare NI.
We continue to provide research support to our members, and recently set up a Sectoral Research Steering Group to allow members, and those in the wider sector, with a research remit to meet and discuss research priorities.
We also facilitate two members’ fora, one in the North West area, and one in the Greater Belfast area. (Minutes available on request).
HAW is an annual week to highlight the issue of homelessness across Northern Ireland, and to mark the continued efforts of organisations, staff, and service users working in the sector. Currently, HAW is in it’s seventh year.
Typically HAW spans the week that is made up of the last few days of November and the first few of December, with a number of events organised in proceeding days.
HAW is a sectoral wide week of activities, and whilst no one organisation is central to event planning / co-ordination, each year, we list upcoming events, and after the week’s events, we collate and present reviews of these.
We work in partnership with Homeless Link to manage Homeless NI, an online directory listing temporary accommodation, advice and support agencies across NI. As part of this resource, we manage a ‘vacancy online’ element, wherein accommodation providers can update vacancies, allowing accurate information about current temporary accommodation vacancies to prpovided between our members. The objective of the project is to ensure access to appropriate accommodation, and to enable agencies to provide high quality services. Contact us for more information.